University of Hertfordshire

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The role of personality traits in pension decisions: Findings and policy recommendations

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2901-2920
Number of pages20
JournalApplied Economics
Early online date4 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2019


Many countries need to stimulate pension participation and contribution to ensure their citizens are prepared adequately for retirement. Identifying at-risk groups with tendencies of not joining pension plans will help governments target strategies to improve pension awareness and participation. This study investigates the role of personality traits in pension decision making using data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study. Our results demonstrate that Extraversion significantly correlates with non-participation in private pensions, including both employer run and personal pensions. Individuals who are high in Conscientiousness are more likely to participate and pay more into personal pensions. Openness to experience is negatively correlated with saving via personal pensions. Agreeableness and Extraversion correlate inversely with the amount contributed to personal plans. This paper discusses our findings in detail and offers policy implications which may help promote pension participation and ease the problem of old age poverty.


© 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an accepted manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Applied Economics on 04 Feb 2019, available online:

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